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Emotional moment mum from 60 Minutes abduction scandal is reunited with her two children on FaceTime

A Brisbane mother who, along with a Channel Nine TV crew, was arrested in Lebanon over the attempted kidnapping of her children has had an emotional online reunion with her kids. 

Sally Faulkner’s two eldest children were all smiles when they caught up with their mum on FaceTime, in a picture she posted to Facebook. 

Lahela, 11, and Noah, 9, live with their dad in Beirut after an acrimonious split, which saw Ms Faulkner and Nine’s 60 Minutes show conduct a botched ‘child recovery operation’.

Ms Faulkner has since had three more children in Australia, Eli, Izac and Iylah.

Lahela and Noah (pictured) are all smiles in an emotional reunion with their mum Sally Faulkner (inset, top right)

Ms Faulkner, pictured with her children Lahela and Noah in Australia before her estranged husband kept them in Lebanon

Ms Faulkner, pictured with her children Lahela and Noah in Australia before her estranged husband kept them in Lebanon

Lahela (pictured left) and Noah (right) pictured at Noah's birthday celebration in Lebanon

Lahela (pictured left) and Noah (right) pictured at Noah’s birthday celebration in Lebanon

Six months ago, Ms Faulkner said she was going to ‘close the curtain’ on her online presence for a while. 

‘I am doing this for a few reasons,’ she said. ‘When I started this page I had two followers – it was a blog page where I uploaded thoughts and it was a place to pour my grief to, when I knew no body else around me understood my sadness or could bare to listen anymore to my words. 

She said she hoped her children would ‘one day stumble across and know I thought about them every moment and never stopped loving them’.  

‘I feel there is enough said for a while about my emotions and feelings around my situation and the paper trail is long. 

‘It’s time to really start focusing on building myself back to the person I do badly want to be and once was,’ she said. 

She added that she wanted to immerse herself in family time ‘and absorb every moment that’s possible to absorb – good and bad’.  

Ms Faulkner ended that post by saying, ‘So this is me saying bye for now and I’ll see you all on the other side where the grass is truly greener.’

Sally Faulkner with her children Noah and Lahela

Ali Elamine with his children Noah and Lahela

Ms Faulkner wanted to be reunited with her two children, who are in Lebanon with their father 

That greener grass and her online return came with the FaceTime call with Lahela and Noah and the resulting joyous picture. 

Among the hundreds of well wishers responding to Ms Faulkner, one said simply ‘WOW. This just brought happy tears to my eyes.’ 

Another said: ‘The best thing I’ve seen all year. Those smiles. So bloody happy for you Sally. One step closer.’

Many commenters wrote about how beautiful the children’s smiles were. 

Another woman said it was the ‘best post on my Facebook ever. You don’t know me. I’ve just followed your heart wrenching story along the way. 

‘Felt for you and cried for you and your children. Though they are not in your arms, my goodness your journey has come so far. 

This is such a wonderful, beautiful and truly touching moment, well done.’  

Ms Faulkner had claimed her estranged husband Ali Elamine (pictured with the couple's children) had taken the children to Lebanon without her permission

Ms Faulkner had claimed her estranged husband Ali Elamine (pictured with the couple’s children) had taken the children to Lebanon without her permission

In April 2016, Ms Faulkner and the 60 Minutes crew, including celebrity presenter Tara Brown faced up to 20 years in jail and hard labour after being charged by Lebanese officials over their involvement in the failed abduction. 

Ms Brown went to Beirut with three crew members in 2016 in a bid to reunite Ms Faulkner with Lahela, then five, and son, Noah, then three.

Ms Faulkner said her estranged husband Ali Elamine had kept the children in Lebanon without her permission.  

The plan to snatch the children off a Beirut street with the help of a child recovery team ended in the 60 Minutes crew spending two weeks behind bars in Lebanon.    

Ms Brown was arrested and charged over the kidnapping attempt alongside senior producer Stephen Rice, cameraman Ben Williamson, sound recordist David Ballment and Ms Faulkner.

They were released from prison after the charges were dropped.

Veteran 60 Minutes reporter Tara Brown (pictured centre) on a botched child recovery operation which resulted in her being arrested by police in Lebanon

Veteran 60 Minutes reporter Tara Brown (pictured centre) on a botched child recovery operation which resulted in her being arrested by police in Lebanon

Brown (second from left) was arrested alongside Brisbane mother Sally Faulkner (centre right), 60 Minutes producer Stephen Rice, cameraman Ben Williamson and sound recordist David Ballment

Brown (second from left) was arrested alongside Brisbane mother Sally Faulkner (centre right), 60 Minutes producer Stephen Rice, cameraman Ben Williamson and sound recordist David Ballment

Channel Nine reportedly paid Mr Elamine US$500,000 in the official settlement after he rejected an earlier offer of $350,000.    

The botched operation had sent shockwaves through the 60 minutes team, Alison Langdon – now a breakfast TV show presenter – calling it ‘the worst day of my career as a journalist’.

Lebanon, unlike Australia, is not party to the Hague Convention, a treaty designed to ensure the swift return of children abducted internationally by a relative. 

Producer Stephen Rice was later sacked by Channel Nine after spending 32 years with the network.   

Tara Brown is pictured on arrival back in Australia from Lebanon, flanked by then 60 Minutes producer Stephen Rice, who was later sacked by Channel Nine

Tara Brown is pictured on arrival back in Australia from Lebanon, flanked by then 60 Minutes producer Stephen Rice, who was later sacked by Channel Nine 

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk